A big thank you to the Gallatin Refugee Connection (GRC) for the information on the Rohingya Refugee Crisis. GRC is a group out of Bozeman who work to create a welcoming environment for refugees. Check out more about them here: www.facebook.com/gallatinrefugeeconnections/
Lifelong Learning: The Rohingya Refugee Crisis
You’ve probably heard about the Rohingya, currently facing persecution in their homeland in Myanmar. Following violent attacks in their home villages in the Myanmar state of Rakhine, half a million Rohingya have fled over the border into Bangladesh, where they have established makeshift refugee camps. Conditions in the camps are poor, and the government of Bangladesh is struggling to accommodate the influx of people and to develop a policy towards the situation.
The Rohingya are ethnically Bengali and also Muslim, making them a minority in majority-Buddhist Myanmar. Most Rohingya lack papers, and are now a stateless people, which complicates their status as refugees and their prospects for resettlement elsewhere. Many do not want to return to Myanmar for fear of further persecution, and an effort to negotiate the return of many in the refugee camps fell through in January of 2018 amid concerns about security within Myanmar if they were to return.
Myanmar has a long history of human rights violations against minorities, including the Karen and Chin, many of whom are Christian, Muslim, or animist. Karen and Chin villages have also been attacked and many have fled to Thailand, but the Rohingya currently face the highest levels of violence. Bangladesh and the UN have both referred to the anti-Rohingya violence as a “genocide.” Myanmar’s Nobel Peace Prize laureate, Aung San Suu Kyi, is facing serious criticism over her unwillingness to take a stance on behalf of the Rohingya.
For further in-depth reading on the Rohingya, we recommend the following:
Myanmar: Who Are the Rohingya?
Why are the more than one million Rohingya in Myanmar considered the ‘world’s most persecuted minority’?
How Hatred of Rohingya Was Inflamed by Myanmar’s Democratic Transition
The Rohingya refugee crisis arose from a ‘perfect storm’ of ethnic and religious discrimination and Myanmar’s ongoing transition from decades of military rule, says journalist Francis Wade.